Pilots threaten to ground Indian Airlines over wage issues

Set a deadline for decision on pay parity with Air India


Sweta Ranjan | February 8, 2011

With attempts at drawing the authorities' attention to their wage issues failing repeatedly, the pilots of the Indian Airlines (IA) have threatened to keep flights grounded in protest from February 11.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association, a representative body of the pilots, had earlier approached the Air India (formerly called the National Aviation Corporation of India Limited, a body formed after the AI-IA merger) management, requesting salary parity with AI pilots. Over eight hundred IA pilots had signed the letter.

The ICPA, in a letter dated February 7, asked the aviation body to expedite the process enabling pay parity for IA pilots. It also suggested an alternate arrangement  in case the procedure would take time, allowing for interim relief to the pilots.

The letter addressed to the general manager (Ops) says “ICPA advises you to kindly pay all pilots 80 hrs fixed money and the same layover subsistence allowance immediately as an interim relief as is paid to erstwhile Air India pilots as well as pilots who are on deputation flying Air India Express Narrow Body aircraft doing similar operations like on A320 family aircraft.” IA pilots claim they are paid some 30 percent lesser an amount than their peers in Air India.

The decision on a strike will be taken between 5 pm and midnight on Thursday, reasoning that since banks close by 5 pm the pilots will know the status of their salary by then. The letter by ICPA clearly states, “In the true spirit of the MoS, this should be the first step in attaining parity with Air India. It is demanded that the proposal to be treated on urgent basis and implement by 11.02.2011, failing which ICPA will be forced to take industrial action as deemed fit”.

It also reminds the managment regarding the earlier deadline on ensuring pay parity. 

“...in  the due course of attaining parity, we would like to submit that as per the MoS (Memorandum of Settlement) dtd 30.11.2009 which was signed before Chief Labour Commissioner And ICPA and the Management, the parity should have been attended by 30.06.2010. However, it is a matter of regret that till date no meeting regarding the same has taken place between management and ICPA,” it states.

About 800 pilots of what used to be called Indian Airlines say they're getting a raw deal. They want the same money that their counterparts in Air India are getting - nearly 50 per cent more. For the last three years they have been doing the same job as pilots with Air India - flying international airlines.



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